Monday marks 15 years since Mark Zuckerberg, then a sophomore at Harvard, launched what would become one of the most popular and influential social media platforms in the world. In the past two years, Facebook has been embroiled in scandals over its misuse of user data, content moderation practices, its potential to incite real-world violence and failure to reign in disinformation campaigns targeting entire democracies.
We asked you to tell us if that’s left you wanting to abandon Facebook, and what keeps you coming back to the platform. We got dozens of responses, with most of you telling us you’re sticking with Facebook for one or more of four reasons: keeping in touch, using the "groups" feature, using it for work or fear of missing information, events or birthdays.
Keeping in touch
“Yes, I want to quit. I'm mostly on Facebook to keep in touch with family. My mother is elderly and lives alone, so I talk to her daily on Facebook. She has actually become more addicted to Facebook than I am, and it worries me that she spends too much time there instead of out making friends.” — Licia Harry
“My family and friends are all over the place. It makes it so hard to leave Facebook.” — Tori Egherman
“Facebook has almost become a de facto address book for me, which is why I don't feel I can quit. The only redeeming thing about Facebook these days is it allows me to easily — and perhaps passively — keep up with people around the globe, which is great for me considering I have friends scattered in many different countries.” — Zain (declined to share last name)
“I have family and friends all over the world and it’s SO hard to keep in touch through traditional channels!” — Sara Grady
“My family won’t speak to me if I don’t have some sort of presence on Facebook. Facebook is their only ‘easy’ link to me for them, while I’m over 2,000 miles away. To be honest, I also like having my status as ‘in a relationship’ with my partner.” — Hanna Colm
“The fact that nearly everyone I know uses Facebook Messenger means I have to keep my account or else lose contact with them. I want to disconnect entirely from the divisive, egocentric and artificially idealized culture Facebook has fostered, but not at the price of being disconnected from the people I care about.” — Chandler (declined to give last name)
“We've moved three times in the last eight years and the only convenient way to share our lives and our kids growing up with friends and family is on Facebook. Likewise, we can feel a part of their lives, too.” — Anna McDermott
“In this brave new world where calling someone on the phone under the age of 35 is considered awkward and texts/other means go unanswered, there are still some people who we know are sitting on Facebook at that given time. It's the only real way I can get ahold of certain people.” — Nick De Cesare
"I want to disconnect entirely from the divisive, egocentric and artificially idealized culture Facebook has fostered, but not at the price of being disconnected from the people I care about.”
The groups feature
“I’m part of an amazing women-only triathlon group. There’s really nowhere else where we can all connect.” — Danielle Dillon
“I would love to quit Facebook, and have deleted my account twice in the past. However, I am a mom now, with 18-month-old twins, in a city we only moved to a little over a year ago. ALL my social interaction either is initiated on Facebook (mom's groups, etc.) or continues to be organized through Facebook. Furthermore, there is a very very active twin community on Facebook, with people posting and supporting each other at any hour of the day. This has been a very helpful resource at a time when it is not always easy to just get out of the house and meet up with people.” — Rebekkah Hyams
“I've actually quit Facebook twice, but we're homeschoolers and the groups in our area are all on Facebook. I worry that we'll miss opportunities to connect with other families if I quit Facebook again.” — Charity Terry-Lorenzo
“I’m home with an infant and use Facebook to connect with other parents in my neighborhood, especially to give away and get baby gear. And am part of a Buy Nothing group, which is cool. But otherwise, I hate Facebook and want to quit!” — Jessie Graham
“In 2014, I had a child born with a rare genetic mutation. I was devastated, confused and had so many questions doctors couldn’t answer. I am now connected to more than 100 parents around the world whose sons have this disorder and we support each other daily” — Rebecca Roper
“I’m part of an amazing women-only triathlon group. There’s really nowhere else where we can all connect.”
Work and professional opportunities
“1) I am PTO president at my kids' school and use our Facebook group to communicate with parents and volunteers. 2) I am in a group of moms from my kids' school. We plan social events, get advice from each other, etc. through the group. I would be lost sometimes without them. 3) I teach an online course and have a group of about 800 students who I have to interact with occasionally. 4) My husband and I live nowhere near any of our family. I fear we would completely lose touch. BUT, I still want to quit! The constant negativity is killing me!” — Lauren (declined to share last name)
“As a journalist, it's a necessary tool to connect with sources. Plus, I (begrudgingly) use it to coordinate events, both my own and others.” — Sydney Boles
“I don’t use Facebook personally anymore, but I’m a journalist and Facebook is the main form of communication I use to stay in touch with migrants (from all over the world) I meet. If it weren’t for that, I’d deactivate my account. I wish I could.” — James Fredrick
“I’m in a Facebook group for the barn where I keep my horse that shares updates and photos. This is how I learn about activities, share in accomplishments and learn about what might be broken or fixed on the property.” — Courtney Buchmann
“I would love to get rid of Facebook but I work in marketing and manage a brand page so I need to be on it, and furthermore to really pay attention to it. My parents also complain if they don't get Facebook updates about me, makes them feel like they know what's going on in my life.” — Kinsey Justa
“I started out using the platform when I was in college, but moved to Europe in 2007. I used it as a way to keep in touch with my family and friends. Then I became a dance teacher and my online presence there is absolutely crucial to my job, helping me stay in contact with the swing dance community and bringing in future jobs. I have taken breaks, but it sometimes has cost me jobs. I went so far as to create a second Facebook page for just close friends and family where I can post more personal content and feel free to be myself.” — Sandy Satsuma
"I have taken breaks, but it sometimes has cost me jobs."
“It ties me to community events and activities, as well as some of the notable moments in the lives of friends, that I would likely miss out on without it. I view it as a tremendous negative spot in my life, otherwise, but like an unhealthy relationship, I keep coming back for the good parts, even though it mostly brings me down. The ads, the hate, the unsolicited opinions and nonsense — ugh.” — Janie Becker
“Some organizations and artists and performers only post their events on Facebook.” — Carolyn J. (declined to give full name)
"I view it as a tremendous negative spot in my life, otherwise, but like an unhealthy relationship, I keep coming back for the good parts, even though it mostly brings me down."
“I’m part of a mom’s group who organizes a lot of their events on the Facebook group page, and almost every family event is organized via a Facebook event. If I quit Facebook, I would never know about events in this group, family events and even community events. Mostly, I can’t quit because I would miss out on so many things since almost everything is planned on Facebook.” — Andie Kyle
“Yes, I want to quit Facebook! My productivity tanks when I am on it but they have brilliantly tapped into the human instinct to ‘connect.’ Plus FOMO is so successfully triggered by this platform as well.” — Soo Lee
Editor's note: Answers have been edited for clarity and length.